The Mitchell County Courthouse

The Mitchell County Board of Supervisors has approved a written policy for providing funds to individuals, groups and legal entities requesting money from the county for a public purpose. 

The policy, which the board approved on April 30, requires all applicants to submit their funding requests in writing and state the public purpose for spending the money. 

If the applicant is a 501(c)(3) corporation, the board of supervisors may request a copy of its 501(c)(3) letter, a copy of the previous year's 990 tax return and a copy of the current balance sheet. 

The board of supervisors should obtain the county attorney's opinion as to whether a public purpose is being served, according to the policy. If the county attorney determines the funding would not serve a public purpose, the request is to be denied. 

If the county attorney determines the funding would serve a public purpose, the request is to be put on a supervisors meeting agenda, where they will discuss the request and ask the public for comments before making a decision. 

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The policy also states the minutes from the meeting must include the public purpose for the requested funding. 

The supervisors began discussing a written policy for granting these funding requests during the April 2 meeting due to a recently-released audit report for the county for the fiscal year ending July 1, 2018. 

In its report, the firm of Renner & Birchem questioned whether some of the grants awarded that year were for a public purpose. 

The expenditures in question were $14,250 for the Riceville Industrial Park; $2,500 to the city of Mitchell for a park project; $1,800 to the Mitchell County Substance Abuse Coalition; and $500 each to the Carpenter BBQ Bash, the St. Ansgar Senior Center (for coats), the Mitchell County Booster Club, the Riceville Community Club (for Wapsi Days), and St. Ansgar Town & Country Days.

Renner & Birchem recommended the county establish written policies and procedures for awarding grants and document the public purpose served by each expenditure.

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